The Big SC, Yeah Y’All Know Me
We’ve all got plenty of Lion Pride for our university, but what about the town we live in? Good old 16801 got some well-deserved credit this week when the American Institute for Economic Research named State College, PA the 2nd best college town in America (other lists rated larger cities surrounding colleges). The rankings were based on Quality of Life, Professional Opportunities, and Academic Environment. It’s probably safe to assume that that last one put us over the edge; Academic Environment is largely based on research capacity and number of college students per 100,000 residents.
Considering that lab science students are the dominant invasive species out here in central Pennsylvania, it’s no surprise that we beat out these friendly neighborhoods:
Ames, Iowa (Iowa State)
Iowa City (University of Iowa)
Champaign-Urbana, Illinois (University of Illinois).
We were out-ranked by Ithaca, NY, but the legitimacy of that victory is questionable considering that the town has both Cornell and Ithaca College feeding it collegiate goodness.
Let’s consider for a moment, dear readers, the possible ulterior motives behind this list. What interest does the AIER have in the off-campus world of popular schools? This one sticks out like a sore thumb—American commerce is focusing more and more on the college-age demographic. And from a marketing standpoint, why the hell not? We’re old enough to make some money (or memorize our parents’ credit card numbers), but too young to know how to manage it. We’re out on our own for the first time and we’re anxious to play Grown-Up, we want to shop, we want to go out to the bars, and we want to meet friends for sophisticated luncheons downtown.
Most importantly, we are the leaders of tomorrow. We will be running the banks, the businesses, and the country. In the chaotic economic environment right now, who else would an institute for economic research look to but the upcoming heirs to the American economy?
Don’t bother checking over your shoulder—they’re looking at you.